If you’ve looked at property in Maryland with a real estate agent, then by law you should have been presented with a document called Understanding Whom Real Estate Agents Represent. This document outlines dual agency along with buyer and seller agent descriptions. In Maryland, the occurrence of “dual agency” happens when the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent both work for the same real estate company and the buyer is interested in a listing by that company. The real estate broker for the company is designated as the “dual agent”. Now it’s important to understand, the dual agent does not act “exclusively” in the interests of either the seller or buyer and “should” work in the best interest of all parties. In some cases, this presents a conflict of interest if the buyer and/or seller have diverse or challenging needs. It all comes down to the following:
If both seller and buyer agree to dual agency:
Both parties must sign the Consent For Dual Agency form. The Dual Agent (Broker) assigns an agent to represent the seller, and one to represent the buyer, both are known as intra-company agents. These agents may provide the same service to clients as exclusive buyer or seller agents with things like price negotiation and advice, as long as both parties have consented to dual agency.
If either party does not agree to dual agency:
The real estate company must withdraw the agency agreement for that particular property with either the buyer or seller, or both. If the seller terminates, they must represent themselves or choose another real estate company to list the property. If the buyer terminates the agreement, they may work with an agent from another company or receive assistance from the seller’s agent.
Sound confusing? It is. Either way, ALL real estate agents are obligated by law to treat all parties honestly and fairly. Dual agency was created to discourage real estate brokers from dishonest and unethical practices and keep the client’s needs first. Before you sign anything, contact George Papakostas and get a complete understanding of who represents you in a real estate transaction. It’s important!